Churchill's England His Life & Times
|'The man who may be the wrecker of the Tory Party.....was certainly saviour of the civilised world'
Henry Channon's Diary 9 April 1952
Winston Churchill was an aristocrat, an untitled one, to be sure, with a passionate belief in the rights and powers of the house of Commons.He was the eldest son of Lord Randolph Churchill and the grandson of a Duke.
On his father's side, he was descended from the first Duke of Marlborough, to whom a grateful nation had presented Blenheim Palace.
There, on 30 November 1874, Winston was born. We will follow his life from his school days at Harrow to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, to his party election speech at Bath, to his service as a soldier and statesman during the First World War, culminating as Prime Minister, undoubtedly his finest hours, in World War 2.
'Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed to so few'
Churchill's reference to the Battle of Britain RAF pilots
(this includes the American members of the Eagle Squadron) In 1940
Overnight from North America to London.
Arrived early morning London to be met by your tour director and driver. Our route this morning will take past the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst where in 1893, Churchill entered as an officer cadet. Two years later he was gazette a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Queens Own Hussars.
After lunch we arrive at the 'Dreaming Spires' the city of Oxford for a two night stay.
Welcome reception and overview of tour.
We will spend today at Blenheim Palace, home to the 11th Duke of Marlborough and where in the Dean Jones's Room, Winston Churchill was born on the 30 November 1874. Dean Jones was the 1st Duke's Chaplain and was said to haunt the room. After Winston was born the ghost has not been seen to this day. His father was the 3rd son of the 7th Duke, his mother Jennie, the daughter of the American financier, Leonard Jerome.
Sir John Vanbrugh built the palace for John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, between the years 1705 and 1722. The land and a large sum of money was given to the Duke by Queen Anne and a grateful nation in recognition of his great victory over the French at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704.
In the nearby village churchyard of Bladon barely a mile from Blenheim, Winston was buried beside his brother and his parents, when he died in 1965.
Second night in Oxford.
Before we leave Oxford this morning there will be some time for you to wander amongst the streets of this delightful city of learning. The first college was founded in the 12th century.
Leaving the city we drive to Bletchley Park in Bedfordshire, which during World War 11 was the nerve center of Britain's successful breaking of the German signal codes.
Housed within the mansion are two large and sumptuous rooms dedicated to the life of Sir Winston.
The collection by Darrah-Harwood has eleven large showcases displaying a fine collection of Churchilliana. The walls of both rooms are hung with an assembly of prints, paintings, photographs and drawings. The exhibition has three themes, 'The Early Years', 'The Bletchley Park connection', and 'War and Peace'.
Hotel tonight in Cambridge.
The Churchill Archives Center located within the grounds of Churchill College Cambridge was purpose-built to house Sir Winston's papers - some 2,200 boxes of letters and documents. These papers cover the whole of his life from his very first childhood letters to his parents in the 1880's through to his last writings in his retirement in 1955 until his death. The center was built in 1974 thanks to the generosity of celebrated American citizens, whose names are displayed on a wall in the Exhibition Hall.
You will now, if you wish, have an opportunity to carry out your own research on the greatest man of the 20th century.
Second night in Cambridge.
As we depart Cambridge for our drive south to London we stop at the US World War 11 Military Cemetery, which was completed and dedicated in July 1956. Within the 30 acres are the headstones of 3,812 US servicemen and women, a further 5,126 names are recorded on the walls to those who have no known graves. Many of those who are remembered would have served and flown from the US Army Air Force bases in this part of England.
Arriving in London this afternoon, we take a driving tour of the capital of Great Britain. A city rich in history first settled by the Romans. Our route takes us into the city of London, past St Paul's Cathedral, to the Tower of London, over Tower Bridge, back into Westminster past the Houses of Parliament (where Sir Winston made so many of his passionate speeches) to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus before ending at our hotel for the next four nights in central London.
After Breakfast this morning we leave London heading south towards Winston's county home at Westerham in Kent, Chartwell.
His family home from 1924 until the end of his life. He said of Chartwell, simply "I love the place - a day away from chartwell is a day wasted". With magnificent views over the Weald of Kent, it is not difficult to see why.
The rooms have been left as they were in Sir Winston & Lady Churchill's lifetime, with daily newspapers, fresh flowers grown from the garden and his famous cigars. The garden studio contains Winston's easel and paint box as well as many of his paintings.
Terraced and Water gardens descent to the lake. You will also be able to see the garden walls which he built with his own hands.
Third night in London.
Today we visit Sir Winston's senior school at Harrow in northwest London. Not a natural scholar he worked hard to win a place at Harrow where he arrived in 1888. He soon exercised his gift for words by learning a thousand lines of Macaulay's 'Lays of Ancient Rome', which won him a prize. In other areas of school life he fared less well. Its regimentation did not suit him;
He was habitually late for classes, forgetful and careless. It seemed strange therefore that his father should have decided that his son should go into the Army. Winston had hoped to go to University.
After lunch we return to Westminster the setting for many triumphs for Winston during his
'Finest Hour' his 5 years as Prime Minister during World War 11. He first entered Downing Street
(no 11) in May 1940 when the current Prime Minister Chamberlain resigned.
In 1937 it was decided that a purpose built 'bombproof bunker' be constructed close by to Downing Street so that in the event of heavy air bombardment, key personnel, concerned with the running of the country could continue to do so.
The outcome was called 'The Cabinet War Rooms'. Much of what we will see is as it was left after the war, from the very spartan bedroom used by Sir Winston, to the large scale map room, to the Transatlantic Telephone Room, where he was able to speak directly with President Roosevelt.
Third night in London.
Today is an opportunity for you to explore London on your own if you wish or join us as we visit other parts of London including museums and buildings which in their day would have been visited by Sir Winston. Final Dinner together as a group.
Fourth night in London
Transfer to London airport for return flight to North America.